Tuesday, March 8, 2016

‘Death with dignity’ has nothing to do with dignity

In an op-ed, Ms. Peggy Huppert writes about three people who, owing to suffering and pain, wanted to die. It is written in light of the “Death with Dignity” legislation before the Legislature. She laments that as people live longer, they often find themselves “not about to die, but wishing fervently they could.” She asks: “Two succeeded in taking their own lives, alone, but is that really what we want to force people to do?”

No! Alone or not, irrespective of age or infirmity, desiring to take one’s life stems from hopelessness, something to be overcome, not to surrender to in despair. Taking one’s life is not a moral option. “We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.” (Catholic teaching) Moreover, God can use suffering for good. If you have any doubt, take a careful look at Jesus on the cross.

My 92-year old mother died after being in a nursing home for two years. She was deaf, almost blind, and was wheelchair bound. Life was burdensome, but she had hope. She prayed constantly for those people and situations on her mile-long prayer list. When God determined it was her time, I was there to hear her last words: Psalm 23.

Living longer is evidence of our victory over many infirmities. Until it is our time to die, let us bring comfort, hope, and joy to the suffering, wherever they are.

John Rozycki 

[Thanks to John Rozycki for permission to publish his letter to the editor.]


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